Day 7: The Yoga Playground

Last night I asked my classes to create an intention to be playful and curious in the practice, and then I guided them into a rather challenging Sun Salute sequence.  We took the Sun Salutation apart and played with each of its discreet components.  I had them exploring complicated variations in lunge, plank, and downward-facing dog.

I encouraged  them to fall and laugh, then get up and try again.  Theoretically they seemed up for it, but there was lots of embarrassment when they actually tumbled.

Sometimes I wonder if I  get too playful in my classes.  Sometimes I think I need to resist the easy joke. Sometimes I think I should let more silence grow in the room.

Sometimes I worry that my lightheartedness might be mistaken for a lack of  understanding that yoga is an inherently spiritual practice.

And then I think: Nah.  My people get it.  (Laughter is a very deep practice.)

Sometimes I just need to open the “Yoga Playground” and let my students be goofs; let them cut loose from the confines of the postures and just play, see what would happen if…

Lots of people in last night’s Yoga Playground came in sore from that practice today. When they tell me things like,”My abs are still sore from yesterday’s practice, I smile and “tsk,” and commiserate, but really I think: “Good!”

What would a good day in the playground be without a few skinned knees eh?  What would a day in the playground be without seeing how long you could hold your breath, or how long you could hang upside down before passing out?

“Hey Mom!  Watch me do this!”

3 thoughts on “Day 7: The Yoga Playground

  1. Kathleen:

    You’re on the right track, so don’t give up just yet.

    In fact, laughter is therapeutic and can help to heal. I would like all of your to laugh, smile more.

    So, keep up the good work: your students will thank you for it, me thinks. Cracking jokes is important too, because laughter is catharsis.

    Work in a spirit of play. Experiment. Take risks.
    Ask the “what if” questions. Play the clown.

    Your students will love you for it. Chance are,
    your students will return the favor too.

    Yes, the body will hurt a little, but only initially.

    If you continue with the practice, the body will eventually get used to it. We don’t give enough credit to ourselves: our bodies have an inner wisdom we need to tap into. Our bodies have tremendous potential, which we can release at will.

    After a while, our bodies will become conditioned. Just make sure to cultivate your body. Make sure to develop good, sound habits. Making it a habit entails: practice, practice, practice, practice.

    “Practice makes perfect,” goes the old saying.
    I think you are doing some great work and should feel encouraged to continue with it. Rules are meant to be broken, and obstacles are there to be understood as challenges to be transcended.

    Cheers! I am happy to know you are making progress and wish you all the best on your journey.


  2. My practice today was far from a playground. When I did the yoga deck yesterday I kept noticing that I was putting cards off. They were the poses that I hate. Well, maybe not hate, that’s too strong. They were the vegetable poses on the yoga buffet, the brussel sprouts and the lima beans of poses. The ones I only do in the studio because “they’re good for me” but would never do on my own. So today, I sucked it up and did them. I did triangle, camel, and the lightning bolt one. Then I did warriors to the point where I start hating them, when my whole body burns. I did dolphin and locust. I did fish and seated forward bend. I did frog in honor of everyone who hates it (and I loved it). I was a bully on my own playground and through it I learned how to accept a pose (well some, I will never be ok with camel) and try to find something in it that I could enjoy. I did eat my vegetables and they were good for me, but I’m going back to desert for awhile…


  3. One of the things I love the most about your class is that I have experienced the WHOLE range of emotion. Laughter is one of the best! Keep it up!


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